The high-flyers: Autoflight and its air taxis

Electric locomotion has long been part of our everyday lives on the ground - and thanks to "Autoflight", it may soon also be part of air taxis. Now the Chinese start-up has landed a real coup - and is receiving funding of 100 million dollars from Team Global with investor Lukasz Gadowski.
Text Jack Weil
Photo Autoflight

Everyone wants to revolutionise individual transport - and one is now setting out to really do it: We're talking about serial founder and venture investor Lukasz Gadowski, who is giving his vision of electric air taxis another boost. And he is doing so in the form of a 100-million-dollar investment in the Chinese start-up Autoflight, which is being contributed via his tech holding Team Global. Gadowski is convinced of the Chinese concept: "In the past three years, I have heard what Tian has promised and achieved. And what others have announced and achieved. This has created trust." Autoflight's success is no coincidence: the aforementioned Autoflight CEO Tian Yu also founded the drone manufacturer Yuneec, one of the largest manufacturers of consumer drones alongside market leader DJI.

„Over the past three years, I have heard what Tian has promised and achieved. And what others have announced and achieved. This has created trust.“

Lukasz Gadowski

With this know-how, he took off in 2016 and founded Autoflight, which has already achieved great success in just five years. For example, automated cargo flights from remote islands back to the mainland - but the first model for passengers is also already being tested. And it has completed its maiden flight without any problems. Another advantage of the air taxis, which are supposed to be particularly safe, quiet, cost-effective and reliable? Is the particularly environmentally friendly use in Gadowski's view: "Airways are digital, to build them you just need computer code - and you don't have to clear trees, for example."

The further flight plan? With the experience of 10,000 take-offs and landings, Autoflight now wants to make the leap from cargo drones to manned aircraft. First, with the V1500M - the autonomous personal drone that recently completed its maiden flight without passengers. In contrast to the competition, it relies on a proven concept: instead of a swivelling propulsion system, it will operate with separate propellers for vertical take-off and cruise flight. The big advantage? A less complex design, lower costs and most likely better certifiability in markets like Europe. And if Autoflight really does overtake the competition with this, it would be clear: even with down-to-earth but suitable concepts, you can outperform the competition.

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